Alexander Platt has forged a unique career among the younger American conductors, combining a true commitment to regional orchestras and their communities with an ability to lead cutting-edge projects on the international scene. Building on his bedrock experience as the Apprentice Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Opera(1991-93), Alexander is now in his second highly successful season as Music Director of both the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and the Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, his sixteenth season as Music Director of the Marion, Indiana Philharmonic, and his fifteenth season as Music Director of the Wisconsin Philharmonic. This follows twelve seasons as Music Director of the Racine Symphony Orchestra, which he transformed from a struggling community orchestra to an artistically and fiscally thriving institution, and three seasons as Principal Conductor and Music Advisor of the Boca Raton Symphonia—an assignment born of his debut with the orchestra at the International Festival of the Arts Boca on 48 hours’ notice —where he led the ensemble (in the opinion of The Palm Beach Post) into becoming the finest of the orchestras to emerge from the collapse of the Florida Philharmonic.
Following acclaimed assignments with the Minnesota Opera and the Skylight Opera Theatre, Alexander Platt made his debut with Chicago Opera Theater in 1997, conducting Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI, and was appointed Resident Conductor and Music Advisor in 2000. Over the following decade, he led the Chicago premieres of such 20th-century masterworks as Britten’s DEATH IN VENICE, John Adams’NIXON IN CHINA, the Bizet/Peter Brook LA TRAGEDIE DE CARMEN, and the Britten/Shakespeare A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’’S DREAM; the double-bill of Schoenberg’s ERWARTUNG and Bartok’s BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE, with Samuel Ramey and Nancy Gustafson; the world premiere of the Tony Kushner/Maurice Sendak version of Hans Krasa’s BRUNDIBAR; and the world-premiere recording of Kurka’s THE GOOD SOLDIER SCHWEIK—all to high acclaim in Opera News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times of London, and both the great Chicago papers. In 2007 he made his Canadian debut at the Banff Festival, leading the co-premiere in collaboration with the Calgary Opera of John Estacio’s FROBISHER, to praise in the magazine Opera Canada. In Spring 2012 Alexander concludes his tenure at COT with the Chicago premiere of the Dmitri Shostakovich Moscow Paradise.
As a guest conductor Alexander Platt has led the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Freiburg Philharmonic in Germany and for three years the Aalborg Symphony in Denmark, as well as Camerata Chicago, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Illinois, Lexington, Riverside California and Hudson Valley Philharmonics, and the Houston, Charlotte, Columbus, Flagstaff, Sioux City, El Paso and Indianapolis Symphonies. Alexander made his New York debut in 2007 with the Brooklyn Philharmonic before thousands in Central Park, the first of several appearances with the orchestra.
In addition to all these activities, Alexander Platt spends his summers in the Hudson River Valley as the sixth Music Director of the Maverick Concerts, in Woodstock, New York—the oldest summer chamber-music series in America, which under his direction has become a thriving, eclectic festival. A recent highlight of his achievements there was his conducting the world premiere of his own chamber-orchestra version of David Del Tredici’s masterpiece from 1976, FINAL ALICE, to accolades in The New York Times. In summer 2011, he conducts the premiere of his chamber-orchestra version of Leonard Bernstein’s SONGFEST, in conjunction with the Bernstein estate.
Alexander Platt has conducted the U.S. premieres of works by Britten, Shostakovich, Ned Rorem, Colin Matthews, Russell Platt, and Judith Weir; in Boca Raton he also led his own large-orchestra version of Libby Larsen’s Sonnets from the Portuguese. With the Wisconsin Philharmonic in 2010-11 he led Aaron Jay Kernis’ Simple Songs, the world premiere of the revised version of Daron Hagen’sThird Symphony, and the world premiere of Joseph Schwantner’s symphony Chasing Light as part of the consortium of American orchestras under the Ford Motor Fund/League of American Orchestras Made In America commission; in Grand Forks, he led the North American premiere, with oboist Philip McKenzie, of the orchestral version of Benjamin Britten’s Temporal Variations. In Autumn 2011, as a joint American premiere with his orchestras in Grand Forks and La Crosse, he conducts Colin Matthews’ recent reconstruction of Benjamin Britten’s unfinished Clarinet Concerto for Benny Goodman.
A research scholar for the National Endowment for the Humanities before he entered college, Alexander Platt was educated at Yale College, as a conducting fellow at both Aspen and Tanglewood, and then as a Marshall Scholar at King’s College Cambridge. At Cambridge he led all of the important musical societies, deputized in the legendary King’s College Choir, and as conductor of the Cambridge University Opera Society led a revival of Britten’s neglected OWEN WINGRAVE that earned him high praise in the London press. During this time he also made his professional conducting debut at Aldeburgh, his London debut at the Wigmore Hall, and reconstructed the lost chamber version of the Mahler Fourth Symphony, which has gone on to become a classic of the repertoire. In addition to recording for National Public Radio, the South-West German Radio and the BBC, his 2004 recording of Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with Rachel Barton Pine still appears frequently on radio stations across America.
More information about Alexander Platt can be found at http://www.alexanderplatt.com/